[at-l] Thru hikes, purist hikes, goals. WAS Earl Shaffer's hike

Cody Girl codycodygirl at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 21:01:17 CDT 2011

Well, I know I'm coming in late on this, but I have to say my peace.  (hmm.
piece?  not sure)
I agree, judge not.  But I have to admit I have the human foibles, and it
irks me greatly to hear someone say they have thruhiked when they have not,
in my opinion.  There is a woman who hiked last year that skipped an entire
state, yet calls herself a thruhiker.  To my sensitive little self I think,
this person is disrespecting my hike and what I did, to say what she did was
the same as me. Yet I acknowledge, what does her hike have to do with mine?
nada.  Yet, do I give a rats axx what she says?  You bet.

That said, I have most certainly felt that some did not think my hike was as
real, as honest, as worthy as theirs, because of the way I did it.  Too many
zeros.  I carried a cell phone, and used it!  An electronic online trail
journal.  I have felt hurt over this, but honestly, no more than it is my
place to judge what someone else's hike was, how dare those who judge mine!

I chose to hike the AT at the time I did because the stars aligned and I
could.  It was a long time dream.  I thank divine providence that Earl
Schaeffer took whatever steps he took and set this in motion!  And I don't
really care about the specifics.  He did it first and showed me the way,
just like all of you.  What a marvelous gift I was given.

And all that said, I took the purist route, as best I could.  I hiked past
every white blaze, carrying my pack.  For me, that was what I wanted to do
and I knew it from the beginning (thanks to those who helped me work that
out).  No dis to anyone else, just for me, this is a thru to me.

And now I know I am running off at the mouth, but on the subject of the
speedy hikers ...  I may have been the slowest hiker ever, seriously.  And
frankly, I was in no particular hurry, I was glad to get to K when I got
there, with a few days to spare I think.  Big mileage days hurt!  And I
thought, who are these speedy hikers?  who RUN along the trail, with this
support or that special whatever?  I could absolutely NOT identify with that
kind of hike and thought they are missing so much!   But I have thought
about it more.  Here is the thing that I know from thru hiking.  My body, at
it's best, moving through the forest along the trail and up and down the
mountains was the most magnificent thing and I REALLY got off on that.  Here
I am, a middle aged lady, started my hike somewhat overweight, and mid-way
through all of a sudden I was a machine!  What happened was that I was not
enjoying the scene, or feeling the forest or whatever, at my physical best I
was a PART of the scene.  I was breathing the oxygen the ferns gave off,
especially and just for me!  I BELONGED in the ecosystem, I was not some
person just passing through.  I don't know how to explain it better than
that, but this might be a thing unique to a thru or a very long section.
I'll probably never be a trail runner, but I can only imagine the joy of
gliding along inhaling all the forest is while exhaling your self.  My god.
I am happy for a while I got to skate.

OK.  Well, I probably pissed off everyone who didn't really care what I
think anyway, but there you have it.  I started my day listening to a
recital of the Declaration of Independance.

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives,
our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Can you imagine?  Those guys were willing to lose EVERYTHING, so we could
argue about Earl Schaffer and thruhiking.  Sacred honor indeed.  I hope you
had a good day.

On Mon, Jul 4, 2011 at 7:46 PM, <trailr at aol.com> wrote:

> I got on the trail in 03, because I got laid off from work. No purist
> reasons, but I ended up doing a Thruhike past all the White blazes... Why?
> Well, because it was easy... Does it make my thruhike any better than
> someone elses? Nope... Was I into the "journey", oblivious of the
> Destination? Hell no! To me, it was all about Katahdin... But enjoying the
> journey a little didn't hurt. My thru hike really sucked in many ways... For
> every good thru hiking  moment, there were many "WTF am I doing, this hurts"
> moments.   Between injuries and breathing problems, I should have quit, but
> I kept thinking of Katahdin (and that too many people knew I was out there,
> for me to quit...).
> I wasn't out there finding myself , or communing with nature. I was trying
> to get to Katahdin, the goal was my incentive. My Thru hike was one of the
> best things I have ever done, and one of the worst. Too many pills to kill
> the pain on the trail makes you abuse muscles and joints beyond their
> limits.  Sometimes the price of Success is high... So hike your own hike...
> Enjoy yourself, and judge not.
> Hotdog
> ------Original Message------
> From: Amy Forinash
> Sender: at-l-bounces at backcountry.net
> To: at-l
> Subject: Re: [at-l] Earl Shaffer's hike
> Sent: Jul 4, 2011 8:10 PM
> I don't get why everybody is so judgey.  It's not like the Guinness Book is
> out there keeping a record on every hiker.  We like to hike.  We go hike.
>  You might intend to do the whole trail in one go, and you might even
> actually do it that way, despite weather and injuries and illness and stuff
> back home.  And if you do, I bet you get a huge sense of accomplishment.
>  (Which, yay!) But why would I care if you did it that way?  (In other than
> a "go, you, that's awesome" sort of sentiment?)
> Guess I was just raised wrong.  Maybe if I were raised Christian it would
> feel more natural to me to rate other people's leisure time activities.   I
> think I am on the other side of a cultural divide here.
> I like to hike.  See y'all on the trail.  Unless you're going to judge me,
> in which case I'll be on the blue blaze.
> -amy
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